8th Grade Language Arts(4) by hcj


									                                    8th Grade Language Arts
                                       Course Information

                                   Teacher: Jeff Sanders
                               Email: jeffrey.sanders@bvsd.org
                                Phone: 720-561-3400 ext. 3459
                                         Room #: 289

Welcome to 8th grade! I am so excited for this school year, and I really look forward to getting
to know you as the year progresses. I hope that you will have fun, work hard, and enjoy being a
member of this class community. Through writing and reading we can learn a lot about each
other, the world, and ourselves, so let’s get started!

Course Information: Over the course of your eighth grade year, you will read a variety of texts
such as novels, short stories, poems, plays, informational texts and essays. In addition, you will
spend a great deal of time working on your writing. Your writing assignments will sometimes
tie into what you are reading. Much of this writing will be done by following the five step
writing process: brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. You will use the 6 +
1 traits for your writing assignments. Also, you will often be responsible for choosing what you
read and write within certain parameters. This is a great opportunity to explore areas of interest
in a deeper way.

Come to class on time, prepared, and ready to participate.
Follow the Cougar values: respect, responsibility, safety, and kindness.


I love meeting with parents/guardians! If you want to meet with me in person, please set
something up in advance. I prefer the afternoon over the morning because my mornings are
usually pretty busy. See the contact information at the top of this document to get a hold of me.

Reading List:

As of now, the reading list is not completely set in stone, but you will be reading many of the
books listed below. The titles that are bolded will definitely be read by all classes. There will
also be many non-fiction selections that will be aligned with the 8th Grade U.S. Society
curriculum and the class novels.

To Kill A Mockingbird                         Nothing but the Truth
The Outsiders                                 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Fever 1793                                    Fahrenheit 451
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie                   Anthem
Speak                                         The Tell Tale Heart (short story)
The Red Badge of Courage                      A Midsummer Night’s Dream
A Rose for Emily (short story)
Curriculum / Essential Learnings:

Below is the 8th Grade Language Arts Curriculum as laid out by Boulder Valley School District.
There are six standards and a handful of essential learnings within each standard. Most of the
essentials are listed below. We will cover every essential more than once over the course of the
year. There is also a list of essential questions that will guide our learning as the year progresses.
The full curriculum document can be found on the BVSD website.

Standard 1: Students will read and understand a variety of materials.

       - Establishes purpose for reading and applies specific reading strategies
       - Self-monitors comprehension by using background knowledge, previewing,
       predicting, questioning, visualization, rereading, and engaging in interpretive
       - Applies knowledge of word origins, derivations, inflections, and analogies to
       extend vocabulary development.
       - Uses context, structure and connotations to determine meaning of words and

Standard 2: Students listen, observe, speak, and write for a variety of purposes and
       - Develops and delivers oral presentations in groups and individually.
       - Uses planning strategies to generate and organize ideas and details to elaborate
       on a central theme.
       - Creates cohesive narrative writing that conveys a clear focus that considers
       purpose and audience.
       - Creates cohesive persuasive writing that conveys a clear focus that considers
       purpose and audience.
       - Creates cohesive functional writing that conveys and clear focus that considers
       purpose and audience.
       - Composes cohesive and coherent multiple paragraph essays across a variety of
       - Employs elements of composing and revising techniques to publish.

Standard 3: Students use grammatical and mechanical conventions of language in
speaking and writing.

       - Uses standard grammatical structures related to singular and objective references
         in writing.
       - Uses and correctly punctuates varied sentence structures to include conjunctions
       and transition words.
       - Uses comparative and superlative degrees in adverbs and adjectives.
       - Analyzes and employs conventions of capitalization, spelling, punctuation,
       sentence structure and paragraphing in written work.
       - Proofreads and edits for mechanics and conventions.
Standard 4: Students use reading, writing, speaking, observing, and listening to synthesize
information, to analyze and evaluate arguments, and to develop and defend argumentative

       - Analyzes, makes inferences, and evaluates an author’s purpose and point of
       - Uses rules and strategies for summarizing a text.
       - Analyzes and records information using internal text structures.
       - Develops a formal persuasive piece of writing with a clearly articulated defense.
       - Analyzes mass media messages.

Standard 5: Students apply research skills to locate, select, and make use of relevant

       - Presents findings in a research project in a logical, consistent, and standard

Standard 6: Students read, understand, and interpret literature as a record and expression of
human experience.

       - Reads a variety of literary works representing a broad spectrum of cultures and
       - Explains the influence of culture and history on the form, style, and point of
       view of a literary selection.
       - Analyzes an author’s use of literary devices.
       - Uses story elements to understand texts.
       - Analyzes an author’s intent to affect plot and theme through the explicit and
       implicit traits and motives of characters’ thoughts, words, and actions.

Essential Questions:

       - How do I incorporate what I am reading with what I know?
       - How do I communicate my thoughts to intended audiences?
       - How does grammar, punctuation, and spelling impact a writer’s message?
       - How does what I write impact or influence readers?
       - How does what I read impact what I think and do?
       - How can organization of information impact a researcher’s interpretation of
       - Does literature reflect culture or shape it?

Key Assessments: Throughout the course of this year, you will be working on a variety of
assessments including classroom activities, quizzes, book groups, written assignments,
discussions, tests, and projects. I have created assessments that target multiple learning styles
and allow for you to have a choice. Everything we do has a purpose, so it is essential that you
put forth your best effort.
Grading Policy: I know my grade book is different from others at Southern Hills, so if you ever
have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me about them (phone/Email/in person).

       General Overview: Almost every assignment or project that I give in my class is acting
       as an assessment. Some assessments will target one essential (see curriculum above),
       while others will target multiple essentials. A score will be given for every assessment,
       and that score will go into the “Assessment” category in the grade book. If multiple
       essentials are assessed within one assignment or project, the total score is based on the
       average of the individual essential scores.

       The other category in the grade book is titled “Essentials”. As each individual essential
       is measured on assessments (see paragraph above), the score is recorded in this category.
       This score shows exactly how the student is performing with regard to each essential at
       any given point. Therefore, this score can fluctuate throughout a quarter.

       Grade Calculation: A student’s grade should reflect her/his mastery of the curriculum,
       so the “Essentials” category of the grade book will make up 90% of the total grade,
       leaving 10% for the “Assessments” category. Extra credit is not offered in my class.

       Scoring: The scores that I give on an assignment reflect the student’s proficiency, and
       they align numerically with CSAP.

       4      Advanced               100%
       3      Proficient             90%
       2      Partially Proficient   75%
       1      Unsatisfactory         65%
       0      Not Assessable         50%

       Letter grades will be reported based on the final percentage at the end of each quarter.

       A      90 - 100%
       B      80 - 89%
       C      70 - 79%
       D      60 - 69%
       F      50 - 59%

Homework: I would like you to read for 25-30 minutes each night. You should always have a
book to read. See me if you need recommendations. Aside from that, homework will be
assigned most evenings (3-5 times a week). Homework is due at the beginning of class.

Late Work: Any assignments you turn in late should be placed in the tray labeled “Late
Work” that is located at the front of the room. If work is not turned in when it is due, points
will be taken off the assignment for each day it is late. This will be reflected in the
“Assessments” category on Infinite Campus. I will accept work as long as it is within the
timeframe of the unit. Any student leaving on a prearranged absence must get work ahead of
time. You have the number of days absent plus one to make up missed work for an illness, etc.
Materials Needed:
Composition notebook / Journal
1” 3-ring binder
Four dividers
Lined paper
Pencils and pens
Flash Drive / Memory Stick - Not Required!

Classroom Procedures:

1. Heading on your papers: In the upper right corner of your papers, please include your
   name, the date, and class period.

2. Using the restroom/getting a drink: I prefer that you use your passing period to do these
   things, but I will give you a pass if you need to use the restroom. You must ask me before
   leaving the classroom. If I allow you to leave, you must take the hall pass.

3. Food and Drink: The only drink that I allow in class is water. Feel free to bring a bottle so
   that you don’t have to leave in the middle of class. I do allow snacks as long as they do not
   cause distractions and do not make a mess. If you leave a mess, it will result in the loss of
   the privilege to eat in my room.

4. Pencils: I expect that you come to class prepared, and that means coming with a writing
   utensil. I do not give out pencils, but I will have them available for purchase (Two for 25
   cents). I will use the money from the pencils for a small party at the end of the year.

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